Understanding your requirements
Have an understanding of where the images are going to go and the correct format. Are they for Online use or printed use? You might need to request both formats.
Do you need Portrait orientation or Landscape orientation? It’s important to know what mediums they will be used for – Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, website, etc. They all have their own requirements in relation to size and orientation. Most photographers will have an understanding of these mediums but they will still need to know where YOU need to use them.
If they are going on a website, has the space they are going into been formatted, i.e. what shape is it? Most modern cameras produce rectangular Horizontal shaped images, however, Website designers often create square or Portrait image spaces for some pages. It can be difficult to fit a rectangular image into a square space after the shoot! You might then have the choice, either your images look strange or you have to do a Reshoot!
Choosing a Photographer
Your choice will be based around your own requirements – budget, look, expertise of the photographer, portfolio, referral, studio, location.
Always check their Portfolio to see their style of work. Do they have a website, Facebook page, etc.? Are they claiming to be a professional but can only shoot on the weekends?
Are Headshots their field of expertise? This is your Company/Personal Branding you are thinking about. Do you want to trust that to just anybody with a camera? Your Headshot is often your lead marketing item; it needs to be a good likeness that makes you look approachable, warm, trustworthy and professional. Your Headshot is for potential clients to understand your atmosphere and it should make you stand out from your competitors.
How long does the photographer shoot for and how many images will they shoot? How many images will you receive and will they be edited? How will they be edited? Overly photoshopped Headshots can portray you as being fake or not genuine. How will they deliver the final edits?
You will need to be able to discuss the items from Step 1 with the photographer.
Having chosen your photographer and being locked in for a session time, it’s time to think about clothing choices. The length of the shoot will determine how many different looks you will be able to have. If it’s a 10 minute stand-you-up-against-the- wall-and-tell-you-to-smile type shoot, then you might need only one or two tops. If you are shooting for an hour or so, you will be able to get changed a few more times.
Obviously, clothing will be determined by your profession (if you are a corporate) and your style (if you are an actor/actress). If you work as a Professional Solicitor, Accountant, etc., you are limited, in most cases, to a reasonably conservative choice of blouse, shirt, tie, jacket. Remember to keep within the confines of your profession. I always suggest wear what you love. For guys, as corporates, they might need to bring a tie, even if they don’t usually wear one. Depending on different circumstances, you never know when you might be required to have an image wearing a tie. Industry appropriate is what I always say !
For women, I always suggest it’s better to bring it and not use it/wear it than to be saying “Oh, I wish I brought that with me”.
Hair and Makeup
Men – shouldn’t wear make up in a photo shoot and I would ask them to wash it off. Shaven or unshaven? This will often largely depend on your profession, although most, even the most conservative professions nowadays, have a relaxed attitude when it comes to facial hair. If you are unsure, I might often suggest that you arrive unshaven and we can shoot you like that and then, if you bring your shaving kit, you can have a shave and we can shoot you shaved as well.
Women – I would usually suggest Professional Hair and Makeup. This will add to the cost of the overall shoot; but it is worth the investment and will always looks better. Keep makeup fresh, natural and light. If a client does not want to have a Professional do their Hair and Makeup, I would suggest that they wear the same amount that they would wear if they were going to work.
Another tip for women is to book your Headshot session in the morning, when your face and eyes are fresh and not tired and drawn out after having dealt with clients, kids, colleagues all day.
Arrive on time
Nothing worse than rolling up to a Photo Shoot looking or feeling flustered !